The Week Unwrapped: Chinese job creation, an olive crisis and private jets

Will Chinese graduates choose to head for the villages? Why are so many olive trees dying? And are private jets too popular for the planet’s good?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Mariana Vieira, Rory Reid and Leaf Arbuthnot.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

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Chinese unemployment

Young Chinese graduates are struggling to find work in an economy that has not yet recovered from long Covid lockdowns – and the global downturn. Now, one province has come up with a solution: send 300,000 former students to work in the countryside for two to three years. In China and beyond, this has stirred up uncomfortable memories of the Cultural Revolution, in which “bourgeois” urban students were forcibly sent to work the land. How different will this new programme be?

Olive oil crisis

A farming trade group called Coldiretti revealed this week that a bacteria, Xylella fastidiosa, has killed 21 million olive trees since it arrived in southern Italy a decade ago. The disease is now threatening to reach Bari, which has the highest concentration of olive groves – and the farmers say this is the last chance to stop it. If not, the consequences could extend well beyond more expensive olive oil on supermarket shelves.

Private jets

Figures released this week showed that the number of private jets has doubled in the past decade – and last year flights surpassed their previous pre-credit-crunch peak. That has led for calls to reform the tax system, in which private flights pay only a small fraction of their commercial equivalents, despite generating about ten times more emissions per passenger. What’s behind the rise, and what should we do about it?

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